As spring arrives, the nation’s capital transforms into a wonderland of pink and white as the cherry blossoms come into full bloom. Every year, thousands of visitors from all around the world flock to Washington, D.C. to witness the beauty of the cherry blossoms in person. The sight of these delicate flowers is a symbol of hope and renewal, signifying the start of a new season and the promise of warmer weather. Read more to explore the history and significance of the cherry blossoms in D.C., as well as some of the best places to view them and tips for making the most of your visit. Join us as we take a journey through the stunning and enchanting world of the cherry blossoms in D.C.
DC’s Annual Cherry Blossom Festival is in Session
The Cherry Blossom Festival
The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. is an annual event that commemorates the gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees from Japan to the United States in 1912. The festival usually takes place for several weeks during the peak bloom of the cherry blossoms, which typically occurs in late March or early April. During the festival, the city of Washington D.C. and neighboring areas comes alive with a wide range of events and activities that celebrate the cherry blossoms. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a beloved tradition in the United States and attracts millions of visitors from around the world each year. It is a time to celebrate the beauty of nature, the enduring friendship between the United States and Japan, and the vibrant culture of the nation’s capital. You may be interested in watching the 2023 National Cherry Blossom Festival Opening Ceremony livestream co-presented with The Japan Foundation as well.
When and Where
The 2023 National Cherry Blossom Festival takes places from March 18th to April 16th in DC. The cherry blossoms can be viewed with multiple spots perfect for your springtime Instagram photoshoot at the Tidal Basin. There are various events taking place at other locations in the city as well.
The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Events DC will be presenting the Nation’s Springtime Parade, which is set to take place on Saturday, April 15, 2023, on Constitution Avenue. The parade promises to be a grand spectacle, featuring elaborate floats, colorful helium balloons, marching bands from all over the country, and performers and celebrity entertainers. This celebration of spring in Washington D.C. is a lively event that showcases a fusion of music and showmanship, attracting visitors from all around the world. Portions of the parade route between 9th and 15th streets on Constitution Avenue are free and open to the public and are first-come, first-serve.
Petalpalooza, presented by Chase, is an outdoor extravaganza that celebrates the arrival of spring with a full day of engaging activities and live music. This all-ages event features multiple outdoor stages with performances, interactive art installations through the Petalpalooza Art Walk, and a cashless beverage garden. There are also family-friendly hands-on activities, roaming DC sports mascots and entertainers, and much more, all along the picturesque banks of the Anacostia River. The day culminates in a stunning choreographed fireworks display set to music, starting at 8:30 PM. The best part is that this event is completely free and enjoyable for all ages. Read more about the Petalpalooza event here.
Blossom Kite Festival
On Sunday, March 26th from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM, Hilton presents the Blossom Kite Festival, a fun-filled event that takes place on the Washington Monument Grounds and features a range of activities, competitions, music, and performances. This festival is open to everyone, from kite enthusiasts to beginners, families, and friends. You can bring your own kite, buy one onsite, or get a free kite kit to decorate onsite courtesy of Hilton. The 2023 Blossom Kite Festival will include a Sakura Taiko Fest at Sylvan Theater, showcasing traditional Japanese drumming, as well as a performance by master Edo-style kite-maker Mr. Mikio Toki, who will travel from Japan to exhibit his kites. Attendees can also look forward to performances and demonstrations by the local Wings Over Washington Kite Club, and free advanced registration for the Adult Kitemakers Competition and Youth Kitemakers Competition, with onsite registration also available. Check out the schedule and more details about the Blossom Kite Festival here.
Tidal Basin Welcome Area & ANA Stage
Experience the beauty of peak bloom at the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC, and enjoy a range of entertainment showcasing Japanese, American, and other cultures. This event is hosted in partnership with the National Park Service and features live performances among the blossoms that celebrate the long-standing friendship between the U.S. and Japan. The performances offer a dynamic mix of American, Japanese, and other cultural arts and are showcased on the ANA stage from 12 PM to 6 PM during Peak Bloom, rain or shine. The Welcome Area is open from 10 AM to 6 PM and offers a range of activities, including an ANA giant frame photo opportunity, National Park Service activities, a Pet Comfort Station sponsored by Mars Petcare, Official Festival Merchandise for purchase, refreshments, free family-friendly activities, and much more. Check out the performance schedule here.
There are various other events happening in the next couple weeks that you can take part in to celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC this year. Check out of the events here.
Places of Interest During the Festival
Along the Tidal Basin and among the cherry blossoms are various iconic memorials that are perfect to see in the springtime surrounded by flowers. Here are a few to visit and view through the branches when walking along the water and through the trees.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is located in West Potomac Park between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorial. This memorial honors the 32nd president of the United States and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt who were in office during the depth of the Great Depression and World War II and contributed to restoring faith to Americans. The memorial is a magnificent site that you walk through to discover more bits of history. The memorial includes sculptures, tactile elements, and granite engravings of twenty two quotes from Roosevelt’s presidency from times of the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the Second World War. Learn more to plan your visit on the National Park Services website here.
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Located in downtown DC along the Tidal Basin, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial stands at 30 feet tall on Independence Ave SW near the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument. The design of the memorial is a grand statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. carved beautifully into stone to depict his image emerging from a mountainside. The inspiration for the design of the statue comes from the quotation “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope” from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech in Washington, DC in 1968. The stone with the statue carving is depicted as a slice pulled from a mountain, symbolizing the stone of hope from the mountain of despair. There are incredible details like scrape marks on the edges to symbolize the struggle to create change as well as an engraving with this quotation. Martin Luther King, Jr. was an extremely influential figure in American history who made great strides for the civil rights movement and granting more rights to African Americans. To read more and plan your visit to memorial, the National Park Service page dedicated to the MLK Memorial has useful information and links.
Thomas Jefferson Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial is located along the Tidal Basin and honors the third president of the United States. The building that hosts a bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson within it is a circular, open-air structure featuring a shallow dome that is supported by twenty six columns. The statue of Jefferson shows him holding the Declaration of Independence, and there are also quotations from Jefferson’s writings engraved in the walls. Read more about the Thomas Jefferson Memorial here.
The Washington Monument is an over 555 foot tall building built to commemorate the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army outlasting British armies during the Revolutionary War and the first President of the United States George Washington. It is the tallest stone structure in the world and is made from marble, bluestone gneiss, and granite. The monument standing in the center of the nation’s capital is often compared to President Washington as standing tall and being in no one else’s shadow. This monument is quite the magnificent site from the ground, and visitors can also get tickets in advance to ride the elevator to get to the top. Learn about how to visit and get your tickets to get to the 500 foot observation deck here.
Take a Tour!
While in DC, take this opportunity to explore and learn more about the city on one of our guided golf cart tours. These tours are a fun and stress-free way to visit all of the popular sites in DC without needing to create a plan or research on your own. Capitol Express Tours is a local business that will take you to see the iconic monuments and memorials within the city on our narrated tour down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House to the Capitol and through the heart of the National Mall where you can see various monumental landmarks, memorials, and other sites that show the interesting details of the nation’s capital. Book your tour today!